While She Sleeps have long been one of the most innovative and let 's-just-do-it-ourselves bands around, so of course now live shows have vanished, and everyone in the arts is struggling, they have some exciting new tricks up their sleeves. With an album just announced for April 2021, the half-a-year beforehand will see them throwing themselves into a new project: the Sleeps Society. A fan-club-of-sorts with unlimited bells and whistles, it sees the group connecting with fans on a much deeper level than the occasional tweet or livestream. Frontman Loz Taylor tells us more from the band's Sheffield warehouse, where "it's raining of course, but morale is high".
Your new fan project sounds fun, what inspired the idea?
I think this idea has come from a similar principle to how we released 'YOU ARE WE' - our third studio album. We had such a great response with the rollout of that album that we feel it's right to revisit the way we did things then and focus on what is most important to this band, which is making this sustainable for us and giving our fan base what they deserve.
Have any of you been a member of a fan club before?
I personally haven't been a member of a fan club before, but I'm very very quickly learning why fan clubs are so important to bands.
Like millions of people, I listen to music through Spotify, but I always make an effort to buy physical products to support the bands and music I like most, I make sure I'm contributing to supporting these artists. This aspect of support is often overlooked by the average consumer.
A lot of bands I like actually don't have a "fan club" or platform to support them in this way or do very little to promote themselves, so I buy records and merch. However, I would definitely support them in a more consistent way if it were available. It makes so much sense for bands to deliver what fans want as part of a subscription, and it gives the fan base the chance to truly support the artist. So if you give a fuck about this band, there is a place for you where we can interact together and honour your support!
How did you approach getting it started, has it taken a long time to get the infrastructure in place?
It's been a crazy journey to get to where we're at with the Sleeps Society. It's taken a lot of careful planning. It's not an easy message to send out to music lovers by any means, but we truly think it's time for the system to change. It's very difficult to sustain a career when streaming platforms devalue music. And this is the hard truth that needs addressing and changing. We feel like this campaign is going to do exactly that and raise awareness of why things need to change. If you want to support Sleeps, this is the way that you can do it properly.
We have taken on the challenge, and we feel like if anyone can change things, it's our fans. They are so responsible, open-minded and supportive that we feel like together we can start to make a difference and change the way people look at the current models of music. There's too much smoke and mirrors surrounding the music industry and While She Sleeps are making a stand to raise awareness about how things work.
While still offering an awesome community with tons of benefits, within the SLEEPS SOCIETY there are going to be tiers. The higher the tier, the more access you will have. We feel like this is a strong model that is going to help balance sustainability, as well as give a fan base what they want and what they deserve so yeah we are completely stoked with how this is coming together, and hopefully it's received the way that we want it to be. We hope it serves as a powerful message that makes people think about the way that they purchased music; makes them realise that music is not as disposable as it may seem. But also gives fans of this band tons of extra benefits for supporting us in this way.
It's exciting that it comes with the announcement of your new album. Is that all done and dusted, or is it a work in progress? It's still quite a few months away.
No, we're still working very hard on our album. The way that we've recorded this time is that we've broken the recording schedule into two halves so this allows us time to work on the Sleeps Society and make sure everything is right, we realised with the 'YOU ARE WE' campaign that we took on so much. We worked so hard to fulfil all the orders coming in and worked so hard to make sure everybody received their merchandise on time, but at the same time we realised that we had taken on a mammoth task, so this time we've broken it up a little to allow us to achieve everything. It's a very exciting time for us. We are so stoked for people to hear the music but also really excited for our fans to get inside the society and check it out for themselves.
Are you hoping live gigs might be back in play come April?
Yes. I mean everyone in our industry is praying... It's so uncertain so we only hope that communities can work together to really restrict the virus. If we don't do so, it's going to be years before we can return to live shows. This time, for a lot of bands and artists & all crew involved, is very very scary. The uncertainty of the future of the music industry is so heavily in the balance right now, let's hope it can be rectified when this is over. The music industry as we know it may die but, looking at it more positively, maybe changes already needed to be made and people will be forced to look at things differently.
I truly feel for people within this industry that are simply told that they should retrain. It's just ridiculous!! I know that a lot of bands are going out of their way to support crew members that are currently out of work, but it's just such a difficult time for everybody involved. Believe me - when gigs can finally happen safely, it's going to be chaos in the best way.
Can you give us any teasers as to how the album might sound, or what it's about?
I'm not going to say at this point, haha! The album's first single and title track 'Sleeps Society' is your introduction into a new era for Sleeps. All I will say right now about the album as a whole is that it's going to be worth the wait.
Taken from the November issue of Upset. While She Sleeps' album 'Sleeps Society' is out 16th April. Click here for more information.
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